A RARE bird of prey has been ruling the roost in Lockwood.
Salesman Barry Chambers, 55, spotted the raptor perched high in a tree behind his Lockwood home.
The sighting had experts in a flap as they tried to identify the species.
Lisa Crossland, based at the Denby Dale offices of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said the bird appeared to be a hybrid, possibly a cross between a red-tailed hawk and an eagle.
She said: "It is probably an escapee from a falconer. It is not unusual for falconers to breed hybrids, using artificial insemination.
"This bird has the wing patterns of a red-tailed hawk, which is native to North America, but it has the larger head of an eagle."
She said: "The bird will survive, provided it can hunt and feed for itself. If it has relied on humans it may struggle."
Mr Chambers said: "I was looking out of the back bedroom window when I saw it.
"We have a little wood at the back and the bird was sitting in one of the trees for more than an hour."
He said the bird resembled an eagle, adding: "The bigger birds, such as rooks and magpies, have been to take a look.
"But the smaller birds, such as tits and starlings, which are usually attracted to the garden, have kept well away."
Another Lockwood resident, Joan Wright, saw the mystery visitor from her kitchen, where she keeps a pair of binoculars handy to look at birds in her garden.
"It was perched out there nearly all morning," she said. "It has a lovely rusty colour on its chest. I looked through my bird book, but I couldn't find anything like it."